Welcome to the
Hidden Valley Foundation Community

A Homeowners Association at Hidden Valley Resort, Nestled in the Mountains of the Laurel Highlands

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ABOUT US

Life at Hidden Valley, where Mountain Life is Calling

Set in the natural surroundings adjacent to Hidden Valley Resort, Hidden Valley Foundation is a year-round community that affords access toa  rich assortment of services and activities that contribute to the quality of living at Hidden Valley.

Hidden Valley Foundation is a homeowner's association, established in 1984, that serves to provide maintenance and recreational services associated with the operation of the homeowner community. The property totals approximately 1,700 acres that is home to single-family homes, townhouses, and condominiums.

NEWSWORTHY

Happy New Year!

Wow! It's finally 2020! This is the year our Board of Directors, Committees, and staff members having been preparing for since the origination of the Hidden Valley Foundation in 1985. This is the year that signifies the community's legal independence from the developer, Seven Springs Mountain Resort. This year is also Hidden Valley Foundation's 35th anniversary of its establishment and Hidden Valley Resort's 70th year in business. To truly understand the significance of 2020, take a look back through the history of Hidden Valley Resort.

History provided by Hank Parke, youngest son of George & Helen Parke

World War II was over and Second Luitenant George Parke had returned home to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to his wife, Helen (Craighead) Parke, and young daughter, Pam. George quickly worked his way back into civilian life by working for the Union Railroad. As unrewarding as it as, the railroad served as a necessary means of putting food on the table and providing for his young family. George did not particularly enjoy his job, nor did he have any desire to be a railroader for the rest of his career. Luckily, his father-in-law, Gordon Craighead, was the manager of Gammon's Restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh. Gordon offered George an opportunity to start a career in the hospitality industry. Through the G.I Bill, Gordon would be paid to teach George how to cook. George continued to work on the railroad during the day, maintaining a stable job and a stable income. Then, George spent his evenings working on improving his culinary skills. 

As time passed, Gordon Craighead and George Parke eventually decided to pursue owning a restaurant together. However, their goal of owning a restaurant transformed into owning a country inn. Gordon and George scoured the Pittsburgh Post Gazette every Sunday, looking for the perfect property to purchase and bring their dream to life. Eventually, the two men found a listing that really got their attention: 106 acres of land with two houses, located in the mountains of Somerset County. The property was listed for $12,000. 

The property was owned by Dr. Kropf, a naturapathic doctor, who was originally from Pittsburgh. For years, he had an active practice seeing patients in the tranquil country setting, but was nearing retirement and ready to move back to the city. Not long after finding the real estate listing, Gordon and George made the trip to the Laurel Highlands to tour the property. It was love at first sight because the two men did not hesitate to make the purchase.
On December 1, 1949 they loaded up their belongings, their families, and pets, and move to the mountains of what would later become Hidden Valley Farm Inn. George and Gordon quickly discovered what the mountain Winters were like in Western Pennsylvania. With no time to spare, they began repairing, remodeling, and painting as well as furnishing the guest rooms, dining room, and kitchen. In the Summer of 1950, George and Gordon opened Hidden Valley Farm Inn, which was intended to be a Summer retreat between the months of May and October/November. To supplement their income, George reluctanly went back to work on the railroad during the off season, staying in Pittsburgh with his parents during the week and coming home to Hidden Valley on the weekends.

Several years and two kids later, business steadily increased creating the need for additional guest rooms. Located behind the Inn, there was an old, stone foundation from a barn that was originally built on the property. The stone foundation was determined to be structurally sound, so a second floor was added to increase the Inn's overnight capacity by eight guest rooms. George and Gordon constructed most of the building themselves. As the building neared completion, the snowy weather forced construction to stop. Winter came in like a lion that year, and as snow increased, the building ultimately collapsed due to the weight of the snow. As disappointing as it was, failure was not an option so re-construction of the building began in the Spring. The guest rooms were finally completed in the Summer of 1953. Eventually a 20'x60' steel swimming pool was added to the grounds of the Inn.

During the Winter months of an unknown year (estimated to be late 1950's), Helen's cousin, who had traveled through Europe and skied in Switzerland, came to visit his family at the Inn. As he toured the property, analyzing the hills that were covered with a thick blanket of snow, Helen's cousin suggested that George and Gordon build a ski area. George knew very little about skiing, but the suggestion seemed like a great idea. With that being said, he quit his job at the railroad and returned home for good. As soon as the time and weater permitted, construction at the Inn began once again.

The logical location for the ski slopes was heavily wooded. Back in those days access to companies or consultants that professionally designed ski resorts were inaccessible, as they rarely existed. It is speculated that George Parke and Gordon Craighead made a few visits to the local ski areas that were already in operation such as Seven Springs and Laurel Mountain. These visits are considered to be the reason behind the design, location, and grade of the ski slopes. George, Gordon, and their families cleared the land of trees and brush, and graded the slopes to perfection. They worked throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall months until Hidden Valley was finally ready to open for business.
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Original Farmhouse
(Year Unknown)
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Hidden Valley Farm Inn with 8-room Addition on Old Barn Stone Foundation 
Fast forward to 1959, 10 years after George and Gordon originally moved their families to their Hidden Valley Farm Inn.  It was also the first season for the Hidden Valley Ski Area. The mountain was serviced by a Poma Lift located beside the slope known as Thunderbird, and a tow rope that ran off an old Ford tractor, which was located near the beginner's slope. Back then, there were no snowmakers, so the amount of snow and the condition depended solely on what Mother Earth provided. The skiing conditions fluctuated drastically. When referring to his ski business, George Parke was famous for saying "it's either a feast or a famine." That first ski season, George estimated that they made $400.

The next several years brought better times for the Parkes and Craigheads due to the growth of their ski business. George and Gordon acquired a large tract of land that surrounded the existing ski slopes, allowing them to double the Hidden Valley acreage and increase both the length and verticle drop of future slopes. In 1963, Hidden Valley Ski Area opened the ski season with an 1,800 foot Poma Lift, twice as long as the original lift on Thunderbird. 1963 also marked the year that George and Gordon opened the Continental, Riviera, and Rambler slopes. George and Helen's kids named each of the slopes after car models. Thunderbird was fast; Continental was sleek and great for cruising; Cobra was really wild and snakey.

In those early days, George and Gordon didn't have equipment to pack the snow, creating a solid base. All of the family members would put on their skis and side-step up and down the slopes until they were packed solid. After heavy snowfalls, the skiers would even help with the packing process because George and Gordon wouldn't run the lifts until the slopes were packed and in great condition. Eventually they bought specialized equipment for packing and grooming the slopes. They also purchased a "platter pull" ski lift, a concept George and Gordon designed themselves, and added a Certified Ski School, led by a young woman from Canada.

Even with all the improvements they had made the ski area, there were a few things missing that kept Hidden Valley from competing with other ski attractions. The Hidden Valley Ski Area needed snowmaking equipment and a chairlift. At the time, these expenditures were unaffordable for George and Gordon. However, when they heard that a small ski area, Oregon Ridge, located near Baltimore, Maryland, was going out of business and had a chairlift, snowmaking equipment, and other  equipment available for sale, George and Gordon jumped at the opportunity. Luckily for them, George Cook, a local banker for Somerset Trust Company and avid skier at Hidden Valley, was well aware of the difference the equipment could make in the success of the Ski Area. Once they agreed on a suitable purchase price, George and Gordon obtained a loan with George Cook's help, and made their way to Baltimore, Maryland to claim their new equipment.

George and Gordon's families spent the week in Oregon Ridge disassembling the equipment and preparing it to be shipped back to Hidden Valley. When everything arrived at Hidden Valley, the crew started re-assembling the equipment. While most of the chairlift and snowmaking equipment had been installed, Winter came early that year,  preventing the installation of the final pieces of equipment. Regardless, George and Gordon opened the Ski Area for the season. The weather didn't deter them from completing the chairlift and opening it for use by Christmas. This was the game changer that Hidden Valley needed. Hidden Valley was now in the competition with large-scale resorts.
After having a monumental year and putting Hidden Valley on the map for the ski industry, the 1969-1970 ski season couldn't have looked any brighter. Hidden Valley Ski Area had a great start, opening on Saturday, November 16, 1969 due to an 18" snowfall. The feeling of success didn't last long because on the night of opening day, the ski lodge had burned to the ground. A passing motorist saw the blaze from Route 31 and detoured into Hidden Valley to notify the owners. The Parkes and Craigheads wondered how they would recover from such a devastating loss.
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Original Ski Lodge
They did recover though. George and Gordon designed a new ski lodge that was 5,200 square feet. They broke ground on the new buidling only a few days after the smoke from the fire had cleared.  This became such a memorable time because people proved their love for Hidden Valley by showing up to the construction site, offering their help in any way, shape, or form. They would continuously show up to help on their days off work, or even after work. George and Gordon received donations from people they barely knew. They quickly realized that these people weren't looking to get anything in return or be rewarded; they simply wanted to be a part of the rebuilding process and part of the skiing community that George and Gordon created. Even local building supply companies such as SDC (Somerset Door & Column), provided materials to George and Gordon on the faith that the bill would be paid when Hidden Valley got back on its feet, which is exactly what happened. The new ski lodge was complete 40 days following the fire. The new ski lodge opened the day after Chrismas in 1969.

In the following years, George and Gordon had been working on a plan to develop several properties that were located above Lakes George and Helen. This was an effort to recover some of the money they lost from the reconstruction of the ski lodge. In 1975, they entered an agreement with Clarence Kettler, a long time Hidden Valley customer, to construct 18 townhouses, known as the Lakeview Townhomes. It didn't take long for the townhouses to sell. George and Gordon hosted a cocktail party which resulted in all, but 2 townhouses being sold. The following year, 20 more townhouses were built in the same location, which also sold very rapidly. In 1979, the 24 Valleyview Townhouses, with amazing views overlooking the ski slopes, were developed and sold.
A second turning point in Hidden Valley's reputation came when George Parke built the Sunrise and Sunset ski lifts, the first dual triple chairlift in the Eastern United States. Another turning point came one year later when Kettler Brothers Inc. purchased Hidden Valley Ski Area in 1983. Realizing the real estate opportunities that Hidden Valley offered, Kettler Brothers continued to develop residential neighborhoods surrounding the ski slopes. In 1985, a homeowner's association was established, known as Hidden Valley Foundation. Development continued into the 90's, but became stagnant in the early 2000's. Meanwhile, the state of Hidden Valley Four Season's Resort also became stagnant, eventually leading to a state of decline. In 2007, the Buncher Company purchased Hidden Valley Four Season's Resort (which would later be re-named Hidden Valley Resort) from Kettler Brother's Inc. Among other renovations to the ski lodge and supporting facilities, the Buncher Company installed brand new snow guns throughout the ski area and upgraded the ski lifts.
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Finally, after years of rumors and speculations, Seven Springs Mountain Resort join forces with Hidden Valley Resort by purchasing the Resort in October of 2013. This purchase was monumental because the two resorts that spent their entire histories competing with one another, became sister resorts, which allowed both resorts to offer a bigger and better skiing/snowboarding exerience. At that time, Seven Springs Mountain Resort had already signed a lease agreement with the State of Pennsylvania to bring the smaller ski resort back to life. So, when Laurel Mountain did finally open in 2016, the three resorts became the powerhouse skiing area in the Western Pennsylvania and tri-state region.

This brings us to where we are today, the year 2020. The year that signifies Hidden Valley Foundation's transition from being developer controlled to homeowner controlled. The 35th anniversary of Hidden Valley Foundation's establishment. The 70th year of Hidden Valley Resort's existence. With the year 2020 Hidden Valley Foundation and Hidden Valley Resort will continue working together to provide our homeowners and guests with the very best quality of mountain life.

TESTIMONIALS

See What Our Homeowners & Guests are Saying

We just bought a place at Hidden Valley and couldn't be more thrilled! Our neighbors are wonderful- it's a very family friendly atmosphere at the resort and we can't wait for ski season to begin. We love the resort year-round! Come to the mountains!
Great little resort/residential community. Grounds are well-maintained all year and every season offers something different to appreciate with the changing weather and scenery.
Stayed in a condo at Summit Village and it was great! Luxurious jacuzzi bathtub with full kitchen and large living room.
What a great Summer escape! We stayed in a townhouse. I sat on the deck and read book after book while my teenage daughter and her friends walked to the pool and tennis courts. There are plenty of activities within a short drive. We enjoyed a hike in Forbes State Forest. I also enjoyed walking along the paths around the resort in the morning and on the golf course in the evening. The accommodations were comfortable... We'll be back!
We stayed in a nice place on Kepple Lane at the top of the mountain. It was a perfect place to have alittle 2 night weekend getaway with a few friends. The weather was great and the trails were fantastic. We will definitely go back!
Friends own a condo up here, pretty place to visit! Nice and quiet...

Connect With Us

1900 South Ridge Drive, PO Box 4180

Hidden Valley, PA 15502

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